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Subject: Re: [dita] Summary of Main Points Re: Metadata and DITA for Next TC Meeting

That’s a good, succinct summary.


To clarify the suggestions made so far on mapping to external vocabularies, could we possibly:

  • Add another bullet under “Key issues…” reading something like “Lack of mechanism to explicitly map DITA structures to external vocabularies such as iiRDS, Schema.org, and organizations’ own vocabularies”
  • In the next section, change “equivalent, external standard or mechanism” to read “external vocabulary or ontology”


(The intention is of course to provide a generic mapping mechanism rather than defining in the spec how specific DITA elements should relate to any given current or future vocabulary. But this remains to be discussed.)


Best regards,



From: <dita@lists.oasis-open.org> on behalf of Keith Schengili-Roberts <keith.roberts@ixiasoft.com>
Date: Monday, January 22, 2018 at 20:29
To: "dita@lists.oasis-open.org" <dita@lists.oasis-open.org>
Subject: [dita] Summary of Main Points Re: Metadata and DITA for Next TC Meeting


Have gone through a series of emails and TC meeting minutes on the subject of our recent discussions around metadata and DITA, and to summarize things:


Key Issues/Observations Identified on Metadata Usage with DITA:

  • Perceived limitations to how DITA can work with external taxonomy standards 
  • A preference in the community for wanting to use attributes rather than elements
  • Current inability to use a URI in an attribute
  • While subjectScheme is designed for use with  taxonomies, but is deficient as currently implemented  (comment from Kris that subjectScheme was underspecified in DITA 1.2, and backwards compatibility issues limited what was possible to do in DITA 1.3)


Current Suggestions for DITA 2.0:
• extend SubjectScheme so that it is possible to state that “this is my enumeration value, different from my key name” (Eliot Kimber) This could be done by adding a new enumeration-value element for use within subjectdef element to store a unique ID value alongside the key and readable value (Joe Pairman)
• @props whose value allows URIs; maybe a specialization-based @ whose value is a URI (Eliot Kimber); alternately, create a new, global metadata-specific attribute (“@metadata”? “@taxonomy”?) that could take on this role (Joe Pairman)
• Create a semantic mapping mechanism to pair the names of DITA elements (specialized or not) with data in an equivalent, external standard or mechanism (Joe Pairman)


Where is this request coming from?

Some DITA practitioners at recent DITA Listening sessions are asking for "better metadata support" within DITA. Reasons are scattered, but include requests for a more "associative metadata model in order to apply it in bulk after the content has been published" (using third-party tools). 


A Possible Role of RDFa?

At the TC Meeting of November 14, RDFa was suggested, and while it was agreed that it could play a role, it was generally agreed that it should a) not be incorporated into core DITA, but instead as a specialization, and b) RDFa usage is on the decline. If there was sufficient interest, a Working Group could be struck to devise a specialization. (This was not a specific motion, and this has not come to pass).


Detailed Timeline (courtesy of Joe Pairman):






Keith Schengili-Roberts

Market Researcher and DITA Evangelist



825 Querbes, Suite 200, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H2V 3X1

tel  + 1 514 279-4942  /  toll free + 1 877 279-4942 



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